Monday, May 14, 2012

Stonewall AJET Block 3 MAY 2012 Update

Hello my Fellow Block 3bies! How are you doing? I hope everyone's enjoying the wonderful temperatures and having lots of opportunities to go out during these lovely spring days.

New Stonewall Members 

Since there were quite a few new members who have signed up after Tokyo Rainbow Pride.

Block  3 is composed of the following prefectures: Chiba (1), Tokyo (15), Kanagawa (2), Yamanashi(1), Shizuoka(9), Ibaraki(5), Saitama(7) The number beside your prefecture is how many of you are there.There are 6 blocks in Japan. Block 3 has the 2nd most amount of people in it. There are 43 of us living in these 7 prefectures. I want to make a group list so you guys can contact each other, but I need your permission. Stonewall takes privacy very seriously [which is why the Facebook group is closed], and why I BCC these emails to you, rather than CC. If you like to be added to the group list, please respond. Those 6 of you who have already done it in the last email, no worries, you're already on it.

Stonewall is a non-exclusive, non-judgmental, network and community of support for ALTs and others desiring an outlet for sexual expression in a very closeted Japan. Stonewall is open to ANYONE regardless of sexual orientation, gender, nationality, occupation.

Feel free to invite your queer and queer friendly friends interested. We'd love for more Japanese to join our group, as they often have great advice and perspective on what's going on. Stonewall uses the FACEBOOK PAGE, MONTHLY MAILINGS, and EVENTS, AND SKYPE MEETINGS to get together and ask for and offer support. Feel free to post on any topic you'd like and ask for advice on any of these forums. If there's something specifically that you'd like to discuss, send me an email and I'll throw the topic up on the Facebook page or schedule a skype event. Just feel free to ask questions and get involved whenever you have time.

Twitter no doubt has big power in spreading messages. For example in this article , one lesbian tweeted about how TOKYO DISNEYLAND denied her and her partner to hold a wedding ceremony in Cinderella's castle, a privilege that straight people could have if they paid the fee. After tweeting about it, the news spread, created controversy and TOKYO DISNEYLAND changed their policy and allowed this same sex wedding ceremonies. The POWER of TWITTER!!!!! Stonewall's name is @stonewalljapan

Recent Block 3 Events

These past couple of weeks have been jammed packed with LGBT events. If you'd like to see some photos I took from TRP and DWE, click here.

Tokyo Rainbow Pride at Yoyogi Park on April 29th, 2012

For those of you who couldn't make it, it was a perfect sunny day and the mood was very happy around Yoyogi park and Harajuku streets where we marched. Almost everyone was sporting rainbow attire or crazy costumes. It was pretty successful in that it had higher numbers of attendants that previous prides recently. The official number given by the Tokyo Rainbow Pride organizers were 4500 people. Much thanks to those of you who approached the INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION BOOTH powered by Stonewall AJET as well as those of you who volunteered in it. The leadership hopes that they could answer any questions that you had about Pride, after-events or LGBT life in Japan.

Stonewall's NYAN cat float

Dyke Weekend 2012 at Saitama Women's Center from May 4-6, 2012 About 40 women gathered together in the countryside of MusashiRanzan station in Saitama ken. We enjoyed workshops on art visualization, dreams, massage, reiki, yoga, a hug version of Rugby [Hugby], a BIG Barbecue by the river, and 2 nights of late night after-parties with various games. It was a 3 day weekend of chilled out fun for ladies.

Box Social in Nakano, Minamidai [Weekly Wednesday Cafe Get-togethers [7pm-1am] A LGBT Wednesday night box social which happens weekly had it's debut on May 9th, 2012. Modeled after the Wednesday night International Lesbian bar, Chestnut and Squirrel, in Shibuya which closed in 2010, it is open to all spectrums of the LGBT rainbow who wish to enjoy "hump day" together. The nearest station is NakanoFujimiCho station on the Marunouchi line [the red metro line which runs to Shinjuku Sanchome], near Nichome gaytown. Feel free to add yourself to the ever-present Facebook Event Page. And for a map to the JUNK COFFEE All drinks are only 500 yen and there is outdoor seating at a picnic table in the front of the shop. There's also yummy niblets there as well.

Events Besides Bars and Clubs Feel free to invite some Stonewall members along, if you'd like some company to one of these events in and around Tokyo.

Takarazuka These stage shows feature all women casts who play both the male and female roles. You can find out more about what play or musical is out by clicking here. This month it's Don Carlos. 

SUMO This is the last weekend in May for SUMO. It'll be back in July and September. You can get more information here.

Minato Mirai Ride a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, play in arcades, go shopping, take a boat ride around Yokohama bay then off for a fancy spa bath, which has Dr. Fish, a foot treatment where small fish eat the dead skin from feet. A day you won't forget, I'm sure. Minato Mirai is a great place to visit with a group of friends, or take a date, or take someone sightseeing. There's so much all in one place.

Summer Sonic Fuji Rock Festival 

Bar/Club Events 

May 12th La Nina
May 19th Goldfinger
June 1st Diamond Cutter
May 26th Grand Panache


June 02 [Not Gay but cool nonetheless]
The Gay Afterparty 

Miscellaneous News 

Cool Biz is starting early this year

News on Gaijin Cards

Tokyo will get to see an eclipse

Spring Recipes 

Takenoko 竹の子, Bamboo Rice Bamboo is now in season, this is a traditional recipe for the season

Umeshuu 梅酒、Plum "wine"
Once Rainy season starts, you might see the ingredients for Umeshu in the supermarket. If you'd like to make your own Umeshu, here's a recipe.

 ENJOY May....

Monday, April 30, 2012

2012年 開催されるゲイパレードは2つ

Tokyo gets double dose of gay pride for 2012
LGBT community deserves to be spoilt for choice after a parade-free 2011

2012年 開催されるゲイパレードは2つ パレードが開催されなかった2011年の反動でLGBTコミュニティーの活動はさらに活発に トビー・シグエンザ 著 レズビアンやゲイ、バイセクシャル、トランスジェンダーのコミュニティー(LGBT)にとって、ゲイパレードの目的とは、同性愛者の多様性(ダイバーシティー)や、より寛容な受け入れ体制を社会に訴えるような啓蒙活動に限ったことではない。

サポーターの数をさらに増やしたり、パレードに参加して思いっきり楽しんだりすることも目的のひとつだ。世界各国で開催されているゲイパレードでよく目にするのは、LGBTやサポーター達が、煌びやかな衣装を身に着け、豪華に飾った山車を先頭に、街をダンスしながら練り歩き、同性愛や仲間との一体感、ゲイカルチャーを誇らしげに披露している光景ではないだろうか(いわゆる英語の「Pride」)。 これまでと同様、開催地は東京。

違うのは、4月29日の東京レインボーパレード(TRP)と8月11日の東京プライド(TP)の2つが開催されることだ。 当然のことながら、2つのゲイパレードの開催を巡って、LGBTとサポーター達の間で混乱が生じ、数多くの質問や問い合わせが殺到している。たとえば、「東京プライドと東京レインボープライドの違いは何?」、「どうしてパレードが二つもあるの?」、また、LGBTからは「パレードはひとつで充分なのでは?」という意見も寄せられている。 このような疑問を解決するためにも、波乱に満ちていた短い歴史を振り返ってみたい。

1994年、日本で初めての東京レズビアン&ゲイパレード(TL&GP)が、国際レズビアン・ゲイ・バイセクシュアル・トランス・アンド・インターセックス協会(ILGA)の主催で開催された。その後の2年間、このパレードは数多くのメディアの注目を集め、パレードへの参加者も3千人を超えるほどに成長した。 . しかし、主催者同士でパレードについての論争が巻き起こり、その後の数年間は活動を停止せざるを得なかった。

やがて、2004年にTL&Gパレードはようやくカムバックを果たし、それまで以上の参加者数を集めることに成功し、パレードは2006年まで開催されていた。しかし、安心しているのも束の間、ある特定の同性愛者達が、自分達の存在が無視されているという理由で、主催者間の論争が再開してしまったのだ。 2007年には東京プライドパレードという名目で再起を果たしたものの、その翌年、パレードは突然中止されてしまった。以来、2010年までパレードは開催されず、2011年もぽっかり穴が開いたまま過ぎてしまった。 このままではプライドパレードが復活するチャンスを逃してしまう、とTRP主催者は再び集結した。2011年5月にTPの主催者に問い合わせてみると、翌年の8月にパレードを開催したいとのことだった。

当時の様子について、4月29日開催予定のTRPの主催者である乾宏輝(いぬい ひろてる)さんに聞いて見た。「TRPの主催者は、2012年夏のパレードの開催について、明確な回答を出せませんでした。」 一方、2011年からTPの主催を担当している門戸大輔(もんこ だいすけ)さんは、少し違った見解があるようだ。「パレード主催の運営委員会長に任命されたのですが、他の候補者が現れて、自分達のサポーターを集めてパレードを開催したいと言ってきたのです。

僕としても、誰がパレードを開催しようと自由だと思っていたので、特に気にはしていませんでした。ただ、別なパレードを開催するのであれば、混乱を避けるためにも名称を変えて欲しいとTRPにお願いしました。しかし、残念ながら、僕の願いは聞き入れてもらえませんでした。」 パレード実現のために多大な時間と労力を注いできた主催者達の動機や熱意について理解を深めるためにも、彼らの持つ哲学や今後の目標などについてもう少し注目してみよう。 *** 東京プライド(TP) コミュニティーをベースとしたNPO団体で、LGBTの人権保護と、対話を通して社会に変化を訴えかける活動をしている。セクシャルマイノリティー(同性愛者)に対する偏見や差別を少しでも無くし、LGBTにとって、よりフレンドリーな社会を作ることを目的としている。


これこそが僕の今年の最優先のミッションなのです。」と語った。 最近のTPの主な活動は、昨年6月、ヒューマン・ライツ・ウォッチ(HRW)と特別非営利活動法人アフリカ日本協議会(AJF)の人道主義団体との協賛で、在日ウガンダ大使館の公使と意見交換会を開催したことだ。この意見交換で三団体は、ウガンダにおけるLGBTの人権侵害やウガンダ刑法に基づいた同性愛の犯罪化に対する懸念、ウガンダ国会で検討されていた反同性愛法案、そして、同国で同性愛者の人権活動家として著名なデビッド・カトー氏の殺害事件についても指摘した。また、同国のLGBTの人権保護、反同性愛法案の再検討、カトー氏の殺害事件への公正な判断を公的に要請した。

TPの活動家はこれまで、同性愛者やLGBTコミュニティーの支援活動を通じて、社会に多大な貢献をしている。東京プライドパレードは活動の一環として開催され、人権についての真摯なメッセージを日本の社会に訴えかけることが大きな目的となっている。 TPが団体としての社会運動を確立しはじめ、活動を維持するために積み上げられてきた努力は計り知れない。特に慎重に対応していることとして、TPの活動を働きかける組織の選定をはじめ、どんな決定を下すべきなのか、国内・海外のメディアに対してどんなメッセージを発信すべきなのか、などがある。 このように、TPはしっかりと筋の通ったカルチャーとビジョンの下、実に多くのことを達成してきた。しかし、その一方で、若手のボランティアや主催者、「プライド」の持つ意味を違った観点から捉えている人達はどうしても敬遠されてしまう傾向にあるようだ。

まさに、この敬遠されながらも同じ考えを共有する人達同士が集結して結成されたのが、東京レインボープライド(TRP)だ。 *** 東京レインボープライド 2011年5月に設立。TRPの草の根哲学は、LGBTQ(レズビアン、ゲイ、バイセクシャル、トランスジェンダー、クィア)を含む同性愛者の多様性にフォーカスし、展開している。団体名は、ゲイカルチャーのシンボルである6色レインボーにちなんで「東京レインボープライド」と名付けられた。 この団体の目的は、「LGBTの権利は人権と同様」というメッセージを社会に広めることにあるが、それを実現するには、持続性のあるイベントを定期的に開催し、開催する度に参加者を増やしていくことが必須だ。東京の街を海外にあるようなゲイフレンドリーな街にしていくことが最終的なゴール。 

「ダイナミックなアピールをするためにはパレードがもう一つ必要だと思ったんです。たったひとつのパレードを毎年開催していても、もっと良いプライド(マーチ)にしたいとは思わないでしょう。健全に競争することも大切だと思っています。」とTRPのマーケティング担当である乾さんが説明してくれた。 TRP主催者は、多様化したLGBTコミュニティーの団結力を維持するためには、なんらかの対策が必要だと強く感じている。今考えているのは、主催者とボランティアの全員が企画の段階から参加して、意見を出し合いながら皆が納得できるプライドイベントを作り上げて行くというアイデアだ。

 団結力を追求するがゆえに生じたパレードの分裂の皮肉さを感じている20代~30代の主催者達。彼らが日頃TRPに願っていることは、日本独特の縦社会をなくし、皆が同じ歩調で企画から実現までの道のりを歩めるような横社会へと変えることだと言う。 定期的なパレードの開催に向けて、TRPはこの一年の月日を資金集めや準備のための「ビルドアップ・イベント」を開催し、将来のパレードを主催する新人の教育に費やしてきた。 TRPが結成された2011年5月以来、10回の「カウントダウン・パーティー」を開催し、資金集めやボランティアとの顔合わせを兼ねて、今年のパレードの企画を進めてきた。 

今年、東京で開催される2つのパレードには、それぞれのビジョンやゴールに対する強い信念が感じられる。しかし、なかには、LGBTコミュニティーの分裂を象徴するように、パレードを2つも開催する必要はあるのかという疑問を抱く人もいれば、単にゲイイベントが増えたことを歓迎し、パレードが開催されなくとも、デカダンなパーティーを楽しめれば満足という人もいて、考え方は人それぞれだ。 早稲田大学の英国人留学生ローレン・アンダーソンは「私も含め、ボランティア活動に参加してくれる人は沢山いますが、ぜひ両方のパレード運営に協力してもらえれば嬉しいです。」と言う。



Tokyo gets double dose of gay pride for 2012

Tokyo gets double dose of gay pride for 2012 
LGBT community deserves to be spoilt for choice after a parade-free 2011


       For the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, gay pride parades are not only a great means to raise awareness of LGBT issues and spread the message of diversity and acceptance, but also a much-needed excuse to gather supporters together and party down. At such events in hundreds of cities around the world, LGBT people and their supporters march and dance down the streets behind lavish floats, dress in elaborate costumes, celebrating love, togetherness and, of course, pride for their culture.

Tokyo is no different, except for the fact that this year it will be hosting two pride events: Tokyo Rainbow Pride (TRP) on April 29 and Tokyo Pride on August 11.

Understandably, the presence of two gay prides this year has caused some confusion among supporters of LGBT activities, begging a host of questions. Among them: What are the differences between Tokyo Pride and Tokyo Rainbow Pride? How did there come to be two parades scheduled this year? And, the big question on the lips of many LGBT people: Does Tokyo really need another pride march?

To begin to tackle these questions, it's important to put this year's events in the context of the short, checkered history of gay pride marches in Tokyo.

In 1994, Tokyo Lesbian & Gay Parade (TL&GP), the first gay pride event in Japan, was organized by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) Japan. For the next couple of years, organizers succeeded in garnering a fair amount of media attention, and the parades attracted over 3,000 attendees.

However, due to disputes among the organizers, the next few years' events were barely promoted. From 2004 to 2006, the TL&G parade made a comeback and chalked up some respectable participant numbers, only to then again get bogged down in internal discord over accusations from certain sexual minorities that they were being ignored.

In 2007, the name was changed to Tokyo Pride Parade. The following year, planning was abruptly halted, and the city did not host another parade until 2010, only to experience another gap in 2011.

Determined not to let another year go by without a pride parade, TRP organizers say they contacted the Tokyo Pride organizers in May 2011 to ask whether they were planning to hold their event on the usual date in early August the following year. "

At that time, Tokyo Rainbow Pride organizers were unable to give a definite answer as to whether they'd be organizing an event in the summer of 2012," explains Hiroteru Inui, one of the organizers of Sunday's TRP parade.

Daisuke Monko, the Tokyo Pride Parade organizer since 2011, has a slightly different take on the story.

 "I was elected to the chair position, but another candidate and his people wanted to control the parade by themselves," he says. "My opinion is that anybody can hold a parade, and that's OK. I asked (TRP) to change their name because it is confusing, but they disregarded my request."

To more clearly understand the organizers' motivation for dedicating their time, resources and passion to these pride events, let's take a closer look at their philosophies and long-term goals.

Tokyo Pride

Tokyo Pride is a community-based nonprofit organization committed to protecting the rights of LGBT people and organizing community activities for creating dialogue and social change. The NPO works to dispel prejudice and discrimination against sexual minorities, and to help make it easier for LGBT individuals to live in mainstream society.

"Tokyo Pride wants to spread the message that the issues of sexual minorities are human rights issues," says Monko. "Japan's Ministry of Health and Labor and Tokyo's government support us on issues surrounding sexual health but not through issues focusing on human rights — at least, not yet. This is my top mission for this year."

As an example of the type of work the group is involved in, in June of last year Tokyo Pride, along with other humanitarian groups including Human Rights Watch and Africa Japan Forum, met with Ugandan Embassy representatives to voice their concerns over violations of the human rights of LGBT citizens in Uganda — in particular the criminalization of homosexual conduct in the Ugandan penal code, the antihomosexuality bill that was being considered in the Ugandan Parliament, and the murder of prominent human rights and LGBT activist David Kato. The groups urged the officials to publicly defend the rights of LGBT people in Uganda, to reconsider the antihomosexual legislation, and to bring Kato's killers to justice.

Tokyo Pride activists have made amazing strides in supporting sexual minorities and the LGBT community. The Tokyo Pride Parade is an extension of their activism, focusing on spreading serious messages to Japanese society about human rights.

Tokyo Pride has worked hard to build and maintain its reputation for social activism, and this requires a certain level of strictness over which organizations they promote, what decisions are made, and what messages are put out to the Japanese and international media.

However, the disciplined culture and vision that has allowed Tokyo Pride to achieve so much has also alienated some of its younger volunteers and organizers, some of whom have a different vision of what "pride" should mean. These are the people who have chosen to part ways with Tokyo Pride and organize with like-minded activists in a new group that they feel better represents them, namely Tokyo Rainbow Pride.

Tokyo Rainbow Pride

Tokyo Rainbow Pride was established in May 2011. TRP's grassroots philosophy also focuses on the celebration of the diversity of sexual minorities, spanning the full spectrum of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) rainbow, hence the name of the group. Their goal is also to spread the message that LGBT rights are human rights, with a focus on creating a sustainable event, celebrated annually, in which the number of participants increases year on year, as seen in gay-friendly cities around the world.

"We thought we needed another parade to create dynamism," Inui, the director of TRP's marketing, explains. "If you only have one parade, the organizers don't feel the necessity of creating a better pride (march) each year. Healthy competition is important."

TRP organizers are determined to find new solutions for maintaining cohesion throughout the diverse LGBT community. One way they plan to do this is by allowing all organizers and volunteers to have their opinions heard and cooperate in the planning and implementation of pride events.

Recognizing the irony of breaking off in order to seek togetherness, this new generation of organizers, in their 20s and 30s, hopes with TRP to abandon the traditional Japanese top-down power structure and develop a horizontal system in which people work together on an equal footing in planning and making decisions.

In its attempts to develop a sustainable event, TRP has been organizing, fundraising and holding "buildup events" throughout the year while training new organizers for subsequent pride marches. Since TRP's inception in May 2011 there have been 10 "countdown parties," which act as fundraising events as well as opportunities for volunteers and organizers to meet and enjoy themselves while planning for the upcoming parade.

Organizers of both pride parades clearly have strong convictions about their visions and goals for their events in Tokyo. However, some people question why there needs to be two pride events, seeing it as symbol of division within the LGBT community. Others are just delighted that there are more gay events — and thus more decadent parties to attend — after enduring a year without any pride celebrations.

Lauren Anderson, a student at Waseda University from England, points out that "a lot of people — myself included — are volunteering to help with pride in general and will be more than happy to contribute to both parades."

Anderson volunteered with TRP thinking that she would help pass out flyers. In just a month, her role has expanded to the point that she is now the international PR representative and English website developer.

The LGBT community faces enough challenges in Japan without making an issue out of the fact they are spoilt for choice for parades this year in Tokyo, says TRP President Kayo Katsuragi.

"I want people to enjoy both parades, and compare them, and I hope that it will bring about changes in the Japanese community."

Toby Siguenza is the Block 3 leader (Tokyo Area) of Stonewall AJET ( Twitter:(@stonewalljapan) This year Stonewall AJET will be manning the international information booth at Tokyo Rainbow Pride (, providing English assistance. Tokyo Rainbow Pride festivities around Harajuku and Shinjuku will kick off at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 29, at Yoyogi Park. Stonewall AJET will also be working with Tokyo Pride ( in August. Send comments on this issue and story ideas to

Monday, February 27, 2012

LGBT Tokyo: Twice the Pride in 2012

After going two years without a Pride Parade in Tokyo, organizers are happy to announce that 2012 will be a wonderful year of celebrating LGBT pride. This year, there are currently two gay pride parades set to march around Tokyo's busiest metropolitan streets.

The 1st Annual Tokyo Rainbow Pride (TRP), scheduled for Sunday, April 29th, 2012 begins the festivities at 11am, while the Parade starts at 2:30pm and ends at 4:30pm. Since the event is scheduled during "Golden Weekend", we can not only enjoy the perfect weather that Tokyo has to offer during this season, but we can also enjoy the national holiday on the following day. TRP will be held at Yoyogi Park Event State area, and the planned pride route is as follows: Yoyogi Park Event Plaza→Keyaki Namiki Avenue→Kōen Dōri Street→Shibuya→Meiji Dōri Street→Harajyuku→Harajuku Station→Yoyogi Park Harajuku Entrance (about 3.5 km)

The Tokyo Rainbow Pride event has a different set of organizers than the original Tokyo Pride, which usually takes place in mid-August. This group of younger generation organizers came together in May 2011 to plan a pride parade for 2012. In 2011, this group contacted the Tokyo Pride organizers to ask whether there was an event going to be planned for 2012. Since a definite answer could not be given at that time, this genki group went ahead with their plan to make sure that Tokyo has a Rainbow Pride Parade for the year 2012. The original Tokyo Pride has been sporadically planned throughout the years, so one of TRP's main goals is to plan a sustainable event that can be planned annually in Tokyo, thereby making it easier to keep in contact with sponsors, and increase numbers of attendants. By planning almost monthly "Countdown Parties", the group has a chance to meet often throughout the year, as well as raise funds all year long.

Tokyo Rainbow Pride's grassroots philosophy focuses on the celebration of diversity and sexual minorities which includes all the spectrum of the LGBTQ rainbow. In order to increase sustainability, they have tried to cut costs and focus on the collective power of the community. Since they are still a new group, they are seeking supporters. If you take the time to meet some of these organizers, you will find that they are friendly, accepting and open to the ideas of all facets of the community. Since welcoming our international AJET Stonewall group to help volunteer with the parade, the organizers have been quite easy to work with and open to new ideas.
This type of organization will be a positive new force in the LGBT community.

Of course, Stonewall will support all LGBT events happening in Japan, and will seek to help Tokyo Pride with volunteering closer to the date, August 11th, 2012.

Please stay tuned to this post regarding updated information, such as after-parties. There are rumors that organizers are trying to organize with Ageha to hold a mixed after-party, to go along with "diverse" atmosphere of the parade.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stonewall Block 3, LGBT Events around Tokyo, February Edition

Happy {Belated} Valentines Day, L0ves.

It's Toby Siguenza here again, and hoping you're having a good Thursday.

Here's your monthly dose of Tokyo related news about upcoming events.

ELECTIONS: The success and participation in Stonewall definitely depends on whether we have enough passionate leaders and members in our community. Please consider running for a position, getting more involved, or at least voting when this time comes in March. We really need you!
The deadline for nominations are March 3rd.

"Hey there, Spring, baby!" Event-o
In March, there's a big event at AGEHA, called Shangri LA (more details below), which though is primarily gay men, does also have a women's and straight crowd. The date of this event might match up well with Cherry Blossoms' beginnings in Tokyo. [depending on the weather]

So I thought it'd be nice to make a BLOCK 3 event to perhaps have some dinner, go out dancing at a club that has shuttle buses in NICHOME and SHIBUYA, and the next day chill-out, nap, or whatever in beautiful Shinjuku park under some cherry blossoms. This would be a nice type of event where you could invite your JET friends too, to come out and party with the gays, and meet up with your fellow Stonewallers. These kind of club nights have been really nice in the past.

Would anybody be interested? If so, let me know, and I'll make an event page on Facebook.

Those of us who live relatively close to Tokyo have a great opportunity for getting to know the local community outside of the bar and club scene.
One of the ways is to volunteer for Tokyo Pride. It's not hard at all to do. Depending on your schedule, and what you're good at, there are many ways to help.

Mr. Inui, the English-speaking organizer who I'm working with, is very nice and has given us a list of a variety of ways that we can help out. Why not take a look and
see if there's something you'd be interested in doing.
------Do translations of various documetns to other languages, especially Korean, Chinese, French
------Make a List of media which people from other countries frequently read.
-----Make contact with Sponsors from the embassies of your countries
-----Spread the word about the parade in any way possible
-----Introduce us someone who works for foreign companies that has outlet in Japan (to ask for sponsors)
-----Participating in parade with gorgeous float
-----Volunteers for the day of the parade
------Report on your country's status on LGBT movement and parade.
(this report will be put on TOKYO RAINBOW PRIDE website)
-----Web designs and engineers who has knowledge of WordPress
-----Putting flyers in every possible places like bars and restaurants.

April 4th: New Half Day
Part way between Hina Matsuri and Children's Day (traditionally girls' and boys' festivals), New Half Day is a day where the Japanese queer community acknowledges its trans and genderqueer identified members.

Stonewall Event: Gay Golden Week
Golden Week happens in late April/Early May and is composed of a bunch of holidays in a row. This year, it's broken into 2 renkyuus (3 day weekend). April 28th, 29th, 30th and May 3rd, 4th, 5th.

Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2012 will be on Sunday, April 29th. There are more details on the Facebook event page, and we will update you with details on pre and after-parties as we approach the date. Save the Date. We are looking into organizing a Stonewall meetup picnic either before or after the March in Yoyogi park. Also, perhaps a dinner the night before on Saturday.
If you'd like to volunteer to help out, please respond to this email. THere's also a Facebook page

The next weekend will be Dyke Weekend 2012 (DWE). Please sign up soon if you're interested. There is also a Facebook event page. You can email to reserve your space.

Upcoming Men's Events

Tokyo Underground's UNDERNIGHT [Men only]
The theme is wearing undies. Sounds super hot, boys!
MARCH 19th,
HERE: @ Live House FNV(ライヴハウス FNV)
東京都新宿区新宿5-4-1 新宿Qフラットビル 01 (B1F)

FEB 24th----MEN's SUITS Party
Check out ARCH's event page to see what's going on.
Usually, ARCH is a men's event club [sometimes there are womens events]
Just take a look at their schedule to see when there's a party that you'd be interested in
There's so many different themes!
Here's the address to ARCH
新宿区新宿2-14-6 第2早川屋ビルB1

Women's Events
Feb. 18th

Diamond Cutter March 2nd; Girls White Day Party

Eros March 3rd

Grand Panache 2/25: Confession

Club Night/Mixed

On March 24th Ageha's Gay Party (Mostly Guys, but Mixed Crowd)
Shuttles from Nichome, and to afterparty!!!
@ageHa, TOKYO (東京/新木場)
2012/03/24 (SAT. NIGHT)

For Men
Mango Mango

Tokyo LGBT Supported Cafes & Eateries outside of Nichome

Do you miss your favorite gay cafe from home? Well, there are a few around Tokyo where you can go. Newscafe is in located in Jiyugaoka, a cute shopping area around Meguro, Tokyo on the Tokyu Toyoko line/Oimachi Line/Ikegami Line. It's a wonderful choice for American style brunch. Also, for some low-key cafe action, Gossip is a nice gay-friendly place to go as well. Las Chicas is easy to get to from Harajuku and Omotesando. It has outdoor seating, and an eclectic atmosphere. And a men only bar/restaurant up on Love Hotel hill (Shibuya's Dogenzaka) called Shibuya 246

Beats Starbucks, don't you think?


Stonewall meet-up for the Naked Man festival in Okayama
18th February 2012 (Sat)
This used to be a national Stonewall event, but people stopped organising it after 2009.
I don't think there are any 'gay' events/parties in Okayama on this day, but it's a big festival that lots of people want to see anyway, and they used it as a chance to meet up in the past.
I’m planning to sort out details over the next week or so.
The festival itself is in Saidaiji (accessible by train or going with Okayama AJET on the bus and they'll get you seats). I’ve already seen club nights planned in the city afterwards (at Matador), I don’t think there’s any specific LGBT events though.
They will drop the ‘sticks’ at 10pm, and the last trains back to the city are around 11.30ish, or if you're going by bus with Okayama AJET you'll get dropped off back in the city after the event.
The options if you’re coming from far away are:
1) Stay in a hotel after the event, or 2) Stay out until the first trains/shinkansen as a group at a club/karaoke/internet café.

The event is on facebook now with all the info you need:

March 10th (Saturday) at 6 pm: All-Block Nagoya meetup! For real!
Let's meet each other! My plan is to meet up under the clock at Nagoya station and then start with dinner at either QUEER+s (a restaurant/lounge) or Sukhonta, an amazing Thai place in Sakae. I want to book reservations at least three weeks in advance, soplease RSVP by email or facebook by February 12th. If you have dietary restrictions, please let me know about them too.
After dinner, we can go to the METRO, which will be a queer dance club that night. It's one of the few big events that's not gender or kei (type) segregated in Nagoya. After that, we can wander about the gay district and go our own ways.
As for lodging, there are Toyoko Inns and other budget hotels strewn all about Sakae. These book up fast, so here's a link to Toyoko. There are also several hostels in Nagoya. Since people probably have a range of ambitions concerning the bars, I'd like to leave lodging as an everyone for themselves arrangement.

That's it for now. Have a good day!


Toby Siguenza

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA Hating is Everyone's Cause: But have you ever shared your other ones? Well, I did, and I just got personal.

"We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the way in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us."
--Friedrich Nietzsche

How many of your friends statused and/or tweeted something about stopping the SOPA/PIPA bills going through the US Congress and House in the next election? I'm grateful that these social media platforms make way for like-minded people to rally, spread information, and share support in order to conquer some serious bullshit going on. It's awesome that people show how much they care when one of their freedoms, access to information/knowledge/business/power, plug-ins to comfort and happiness is in jeopardy. Man, people get mad.

But like Nietzsche recognized long ago, when there are other less-represented or silenced people who have their freedoms hindered, or their lives endangered, and it does not affect us directly, we may be refusing to accept an idea. How many causes are going on right now within your own house, neighborhood, country, that need your support and alliance in order to bring equality, healthfulness, knowledge and happiness to those who reside there? Obviously, we are re-recognizing the strength of our power in numbers and solidarity when something as interconnected and all-inclusive as the Internet becomes endangered, and the masses come out from the shadows and speak up against censorship.
(Cont. below)

[Some background Radiohead to go along with my call to you, my friends]

There are times when I bypass articles about other people's causes, and forego signing their petitions because they don't affect anything in my life. I, too, ashamedly, am guilty of such behavior, but it is natural. We don't all have time to take in everybody's cause. Although, I do know that there are a few people out there in my networks whose passion and repetitiveness forces me to acknowledge the things they're requesting from me.

Since I'm in Japan, and have several highly activated:) (activist) friends, I have read countless articles regarding not only the status and health levels of the Tohoku area, as well as tons of personal accounts of people who are still suffering under the radar of both national and international news. Just today I read one from a woman who lives in a place deemed safe within Fukushima, yet her daily life is drenched with semi-conscious worrying of keeping the windows closed, drying laundry inside, watching her daughter leave for school carrying a radiation dosemeter with her, becoming annoyed when people say "gambarou, Nippon", and throwing away seemingly delicious produce from their garden. Where's the solidarity of millions posting on Facebook and Twitter, circumventing the pathetic National media, protecting their live without constant paranoia, fear, and invisible poison?

Since I'm gay, and have several highly gay friends:), I also keep quite updated with things going on in this front as well. With the campaign trail going strong, gay marriage and abortion issues are always up in the spotlight. Both of which, I support, by the way.

Just yesterday, Rick Santorum, one of the leading Republican candidates mentioned how he does not hate gays, and his views on marriage rights are just "public policy differences". WTF? Public policy is EVERYTHING!!!!

I think Rick Santorum, and the other anti-gay Republicans' voices and opinions should matter MUCH LESS than this kid's.

But, unfortunately, they don't. Children and adults who suffer from social condemnation live in this existence because of people like them who spread hate through "public policy".

Four years ago, when there was a California vote to overturn the rights to gay marriage, many people in my own networks, religious/conservative family members and friends, voted Yes, and weren't afraid to voice their opinion on why they did so. I wondered if they knew how this affected and still affects me. Did they not care because, as Nietzsche said, the idea was unsympathetic to them?

And even if California maintained gay marriage rights, I still wouldn't be able to live in the United States with my partner because immigration will not be allowed until gay marriage rights are recognized at the Federal level. So now as the situation stands, if I want to live together with my partner, I must reside here, in Japan.
I wonder, where's the blackout, the mass of stati and tweets standing up to this injustice?

The Occupy Movement, another cause close to my heart, has awoken the world just a bit, but not nearly as much as this SOPA/PIPA controversy, despite the cause involving 99% of the world's population.
Aren't you confused by this?

Because I agree with the facet of human nature that Nietzsche touched upon in his quote, I can't question why more people aren't impassioned with the desire to care for other people's causes. All I can do is understand that it exists.

Even so, how will anybody know my causes if I don't voice them, share them, status, tweet, blog, and gather more people to voice theirs as well. So today has inspired me to share my concerns for the world around me, and open my eyes to the causes and concerns surrounding those around me. Though I'm active on the internet, post and share often, I rarely discuss my deep personal concerns and experiences, but I guess I better start somewhere.

How about you? How will you support me? And more important to the collective cause, how will you call upon me to support you?